Building on last year’s cover feature on the City’s star female deal counsel, Legal Business teamed up with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for a reception celebrating the strides made… and steps still to be taken. The 80 senior lawyers across in-house and private practice that gathered at The Ned in late November heard from a panel of general counsel (GCs) and partners talking frankly about careers, life and changing aspirations.
Natasha Good, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer: I was going to ask our panellists to start by telling us about the challenges they have faced on their career journeys. Continue reading “The Women in Law debate: The challenge of you”
Heathrow Airport has completed an overhaul of its legal panel, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Allen & Overy among those re-appointed to a reduced roster.
Heathrow has slimmed down its legal panel from nine to seven firms and restructured it from 11 sub-panels to a main general approved list. Pinsent Masons, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and Eversheds Sutherland were also awarded spots, alongside City outfit Towerhouse and Thames Valley firm Owen White. Continue reading “Seven firms land spots on Heathrow’s reduced legal roster”
As a long-term observer of the legal profession, I view the development of GCs with an oxymoronic mix of admiration and cynicism. Admiration because common claims about the dramatic improvements in the calibre and size of the talent pool in the in-house profession are that rarest of beasts: a received wisdom that turns out on inspection to be largely true. Cynicism because those strides are often mixed with unwillingness to tackle the ethical and practical implications that come with increased clout.
Neither does much commentary account for the complex, love-hate relationship between GCs and law firms or the powerful impact of the career incentives that in-house counsel face on the development of the legal industry. Continue reading “The GC outlook: more for more and more to come”
Being risk savvy and commercially aware is the equivalent of ‘leaning in’ for today’s in-house lawyer. Can one do this and retain the mantle of professionalism? Or rather, how can one do that? That is the central concern of our book, In-House Lawyers’ Ethics: Institutional Logics, Legal Risk and the Tournament of Influence. We interviewed dozens of in-house lawyers and surveyed 400, mainly from business but also from government and the third sector, to shed light on the ethical dimensions of in-house practice and risk management. Our central lessons? Organisations matter. Individual lawyers matter. Ideas about the in-house role and professionalism matter. Talking about professionalism and good decision making openly and frankly matters.
The usual academic analysis of in-house lawyers dwells on concerns that in-house counsel are business people first and lawyers a distant second, but we think other questions are more important and useful. In particular, we are interested in how in-house roles and practitioner mindsets about those roles influence their ethical inclination. When we work with in-house teams using the tools in our book, they are often astonished at the different views they and their colleagues have about what in-house lawyers should be like; how they draw on ideas of professionalism; and how to deal with ethical dilemmas. Gordon Gekko can be lurking in the most surprising of places. Continue reading “Under the influence – how pressure to climb the ladder can corrupt in-house counsel”